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North Sanpete’s Brock Justesen breaks through the Richfield line for a big gain last Friday night. North Sanpete won the matchup 27-14.

Hawks get early scare, but then down Richfield, 27-14

 

By James Tilson

Sports writer

10-4-2018

 

MT. PLEASANT—It wasn’t October. The full moon wasn’t out. But it sure felt like Halloween last Friday night during the first two quarters of North Sanpete football game against Richfield.

 After surviving a series of turnovers, penalties on both teams, and even a “do-over” play, the Hawks asserted control and won the game in dominating fashion, 27-14.

“It was definitely a game of trials,” said Coach Rhett Bird. “I believe we had one series that we bailed Richfield out of a third down and fourth down with penalties. Those are things we need to clean up moving forward.”

The first half had some truly strange calls. There were four turnovers in the first half alone, two for each team. On one Richfield drive, there were six penalties, four on North Sanpete and two on Richfield. And then the strangest call of all came on a play in which it appeared that a Hawk player fumbled the ball into the end zone. When the referees couldn’t decide whether the ball had crossed the plane of the end zone before the fumble, the referees simply decided to do the whole play over from the beginning.

For all of that, the Hawks still managed to take a 7-0 lead going into halftime. In the locker room, Coach Bird knew he had to get his team settled down, and eliminate mistakes. “At halftime, we told our kids that we had to control the ball. We had four possessions in the first half and ended two of them with turnovers.”

In the second half, the Hawks came out and imposed their will on the Wildcats. The Hawks began grinding away with their running game, led by Brock Justesen with a game high 118 yards on 12 carries, followed closely by Maison Burgess with 112 yards on 18 carries.

Quarterback Chance Clawson also had a very efficient night, going 6 of 9 for 57 yards with a touchdown passing, and no interception. Clawson also scored two touchdowns rushing, finishing out two long drives.

“This game was a huge confidence builder for us offensively. We have been struggling to put points on the board, but we were able to execute better in the second half,” said Coach Bird.

With the victory, the Hawks move to 2-1 in Region 3A South, tied with Juan Diego for second in the region. With games against Manti and Juab left, the Hawks are squarely in the thick of the region race.

This week is the Sanpete County rivalry game, North Sanpete versus Manti, to be played in Manti this year. After losing by only one point last year, the Hawks figure to be super ready to face the Templars this time around.

“This is a big week for us,” Coach Bird said. “We know what a rivalry game brings and we have been preparing for this game since the spring. Nothing will really change with the way that we approach this game, beside the fact that we know emotions will play a big key factor in who wins. We will be focusing on one thing this week and that is execution.”

Kickoff in Manti will be at 7 p.m.